13 Feb Lucy Pulls the Football, Again!
We have used the image of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown at the last minute many times in our commentary about Dianne Feinstein. It’s because she always comes through at the last minute with water legislation that does nothing to help farmers in the Central Valley. And, she’s done it again.
Senator Feinstein has introduced a new drought relief bill in the U.S. Senate. According to McClatchy’s Michael Doyle “it eases limits on water transfers south of the Delta, but does not mandate specific pumping levels.” Although there has been a lot of rain and snow this season, you may or may not be aware that much of the water flowing from the mountains is going straight to the sea because of pumping restrictions in the Delta due to the infamous Delta Smelt.
As of today, over 2.5-million acre feet of water has gone to the sea. Much of this water could have been sent to the San Luis Reservoir for storage but instead it has been lost forever. Valley Congressman David Valadao responded to Senator Feinstein’s bill by saying “Californians can no longer depend on federal and state bureaucrats to make decisions regarding water delivery. Mandated pumping levels are absolutely necessary to ensure a secure, reliable water supply to the areas most in need.”
Until elected officials insist on mandated pumping levels decisions are being made by a nameless committee made up of bureaucrats from the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are tasked with juggling competing demands and somehow farmers seem to end up on the short end of the water stick. Dianne Feinstein has refused to pass legislation forcing the bureaucrats to allocate more water to farms. Her excuse is always that such a bill “would never pass the Senate.” In other words, it can’t pass because it can’t pass. Sounds like passing the buck to us.
For his part Congressman Valadao remains somewhat optimistic admitting that Feinstein’s legislation “fails to provide real water to my constituents, I hope she is able to secure passage of the legislation in the Senate so that the two Chambers may go to Conference and reconcile the differences between both bills.”
This is right smack where we were in 2014 in the heart of the drought. There is, however a difference between now and then. As McClatchy’s Michael Doyle writes, “while drought conditions persist, the infectious sense of political urgency may be lessened.”